Day 173 of the War: Mishlo’ach Manos and Responsibility

The favorite cookies and cakes courtesy of the volunteer who brought them. (courtesy)
The favorite cookies and cakes courtesy of the volunteer who brought them. (courtesy)

Two days ago, we heard that Boeing CEO David Calhoun will step down due to the embarrassing failure of the panel that blew off a Boeing 737 Max jetliner during a flight last January. In the Israeli media, journalists talked about this expected action with envy. In the US, leaders know that they have to take responsibility, they said, unlike what we see in Israel, where Netanyahu refuses to take any responsibility for his failures before, during, and after October 7th. We know that Netanyahu spent many years in the US and was educated in the finest institutes; these are the places that grooms future leaders from  all over the world. He learned how to debate, how to persuade, how to present himself in the best light,  but somehow he did not learn the most important quality of a leader, as expressed by President Truman: “The buck stops here.” The sad truth is that Netanyahu is not a leader, and this is the tragedy of the state of Israel.

Meanwhile, here, the hostages—old people, children, and women—are still in Gaza, and the prime minister and his ministers, who are supposed to do everything to free them, shirk their responsibility. They mistreat their families and push them aside, sometimes even literally when encountering them in the Knesset or in different committees. They even drive by them without stopping when they see them standing by the gates on their way to Cabinet meetings. But the families and the volunteers continue to devote all their time and energy to keep the hostage issue in the news. Lately for Purim there were different initiatives, like bringing symbolic Mishlo’ach Manos to the ministers of a quarter pita bread, a tablespoon of white cheese, and 2 olives, which is what the hostages get to eat if they are lucky. 

But on a more gentle note the Hostages and Missing Families Forum came up with a very touching initiative. They asked the families to write down a recipe for a cake or cookies that their kidnapped family member loves, and  volunteers in the headquarters, as well as other people,  baked them. 

On Sunday, the first day of Purim, one of our volunteers , Rochalle, came into the dining room carrying plates full of cookies and cakes made by her family in honor of the hostages, along with notes containing their names and a short description, and put them on display. I didn’t expect this initiative, but when I tried the same peanut butter cookies that Omer Neutrab (22), who came to Israel from the US, loved to eat, I felt closer to the young man who chose to make Aliyah and be with us in Israel, and now he is a hostage in Gaza. Somehow, this simple gesture made Omer and the other hostages feel more real, as though they were here with us.

I sincerely hope that Purim will be the last holiday that the hostages spend in captivity.  Bring Them Home Now

About the Author
I hold a PhD in English Literature from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, specializing in writing about issues related to women, literature, culture, and society. Having lived in the US for 15 years (between 1979-1994), I bring a diverse perspective to my work. As a widow, in March 2016, I initiated a support and growth-oriented Facebook group for widows named "Widows Move On." The group has now grown to over 2000 members, providing a valuable space for mutual support and understanding.
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